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Covid-19 is now rampant among the Yanomami, adding to problems like malaria introduced by the thousands of goldminers operating illegally inside their territory. © Pieter Van Eecke/Clin d’Oeil Films

Brazil’s indigenous people are being decimated by a crippling second wave of Covid-19, at the same time as President Bolsonaro ramps up his campaign of persecution against them.

Indigenous organization APIB has confirmed that 962 indigenous people have died of the virus in Brazil, while 48,405 people have tested positive. Ten children died in January in just two Yanomami communities.

According to figures from COIAB, the Coordinating Body for Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon, the mortality rate among indigenous people in the Amazon region is a staggering 58% higher than that of the general population, while the infection rate…


by Samantha Maltais, Aquinnah Wampanoag

“Listen to Native people. Learn both sides of your celebrated history. Do the hard work of abolition to help heal our nations.” — Richard Archambault (Standing Rock Sioux and Muscogee Creek)

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The #MayflowersKill campaign is a partnership between tribal members in the U.S. and Survival International to amplify the story of Native American genocide internationally, reveal how it’s now being repeated in other continents, and show how it can and must be stopped.
© Survival

Most everyone has heard the story of the Mayflower — how the Pilgrims came to the “New World,” fleeing religious persecution, and planted the seeds that would one day turn into the American Dream. What most people don’t hear about, however, are the centuries of genocide that followed and the wars waged against Native Peoples, that killed up to 90% of the Indigenous population…


An obituary by Anvita Abbi

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Licho was the last speaker of the Great Andamanese Language of Sare © Anvita Abbi

Most of the languages I know have a word for someone who has lost a spouse (widow/widower) or their parents (orphan), but I have never come across another language that has a word like raupuch; a person who has lost his or her siblings.

This unique word comes from the Sare language of the Andaman Islands. The last speaker of this language, Licho, who I knew and worked with for the last twenty years, died on 4th April 2020 at her residence at Shadipur, Port Blair.

I met Licho when I first came to the…


By Fiona Watson, Director of Research and Advocacy at Survival International

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Please act now for uncontacted tribes

“Cough, catarrh and chest pain killed everybody. Everybody died… They weren’t buried. They were too weak to bury the dead. They were very ill so they didn’t bury them. The vultures ate them from the ground because they weren’t buried.”

Imagine the mental strength to keep going when, all around you, your loved ones are dropping dead for no apparent reason as strange epidemics ravage your community in a matter of days. …


by Sophie Grig,
Senior Research and Advocacy Officer at Survival International

A message from deep inside an Indian forest flashes up on my phone: “I am good! I am in the forest now, I came to climb a tree🌳 for network!” It’s from Leela, a member of the Chenchu tribe from India, letting me know that he and his community, who have decided to isolate themselves in their forest to protect themselves from Covid-19, are all OK.

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A photo that Leela sent to Sophie when he climbed up a tree to get phone signal ©Leela

I work with tribal and Indigenous peoples across Asia, campaigning for their rights to their land and against the conservation organizations, industries and…


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Tupá, a Matis woman from the Javari Valley, Brazil, an area home to more uncontacted tribes than anywhere else on Earth. The Matis were devastated by western diseases after they were first contacted in the 1970s. Over half of the Matis died in the year following contact.
© Fiona Watson/Survival

Click here to help protect uncontacted tribes

The Javari Valley in the Brazilian state of Amazonas is home to an estimated nineteen uncontacted tribes, more than any other territory on Earth. There are also seven contacted tribes who live in the reserve, including the Matsés, the Matis, and the Marubo, who are related to some uncontacted groups and can understand their languages.

Uncontacted tribes have no resistance to common diseases like flu or measles, let alone coronavirus. …


Sydney Possuelo worked as a Brazilian government sertanista, a government official tasked with seeking contact with uncontacted tribes. What he found led him to fight for their right to land – and to be left alone.

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Sydney Possuelo ©Erling Söderström

CLICK HERE TO HELP PROTECT UNCONTACTED TRIBES NOW

“I remember it well; my first encounter with isolated Indians was in 1971. Our mission was to bring out Jaboti and Makurap tribal people, enslaved in the rubber forests deep in the Amazon. I travelled along the Rio Branco as far as it was navigable, then walked along many trails until the indigenous people accompanying me suddenly refused to continue. They had found signs of the existence of the invisible ‘brabos’. All around us were huts, shelters, mats, remains of fires, arrowheads, marked trees, animal traps.

These were signs of life I…


By Fiona Watson, Director of Research and Advocacy at Survival International

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There are over 100 uncontacted tribes in Brazil.
© G. Miranda/FUNAI

Write to Brazil’s Justice Minister now to get this dangerous move reversed

The government of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s far right, authoritarian president, recently confirmed the appointment of an evangelical missionary to head the unit charged with protecting uncontacted tribes within FUNAI, the federal Indigenous Affairs Department.

Ricardo Lopes Dias is linked to the New Tribes Mission (NTM), one of the largest and most extreme missionary organizations, whose objective is to contact and evangelize uncontacted tribes around the world at whatever cost, whether they like it or not.

In an…


By Stephen Corry, Director of Survival International

Find Stephen on Twitter @StephenCorrySvl

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Many conservation schemes that aim to establish wilderness reserves deny the land rights of tribal peoples, who are evicted to the margins of their homelands.
© Survival International

The conservation industry says 2020 is its “super year.”[1] It wants to set aside thirty percent of the globe for wildlife, and divert billions of dollars away from reducing climate change and into “natural climate solutions.”[2] This would be a disaster for people and planet. Conservation was founded in the racist ideology of 1860s USA but it committed thirty years ago to becoming people-friendly. It hasn’t happened. There will be more promises now, if only to placate critics and funders like the U.S. and German governments, and the…


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A Matsés man takes aim with his bow and arrow. Many Matsés prefer the silent weapon for hunting as shot guns can scare the game away.
© James Vybiral/Survival

Tribal peoples have developed unique expertise and specialized technologies to live sustainably in some of the most challenging environments on the planet. Here are 10 amazing innovations:

1. There is evidence that the Dani people of West Papua developed agriculture at least 9,000 years ago, far in advance of Europe. People in Great Britain only began farming just over 6,000 years ago.

2. The Shipibo people of the Peruvian Amazon make intricate geometric art that can be read as music. The people can “hear” the song by looking at the patterns, like sheet music. …

Survival International

Survival International is the global movement for tribal peoples. We help them defend their lives, protect their lands and determine their own futures.

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